What is a story? Why do stories exist?
Your mind is made from narrative. Every life event is narrative. Everything you know only has meaning in a narrative context. In this first session, using entertaining examples from books, clips, short films and extracts, we get to understand linguistics and how stories trigger the mental reflexes we use to make memories.
This is neuroscience, but it is also simple, obvious and intuitive. My examples and exercises will cause you to see and feel exactly these mental reflexes working in your own mind as I trigger your evolutionary mind into action... using story.
Don't worry. It doesn't hurt. But you will fully appreciate how you can use these mental dynamics in your own storytelling.
Knowledge Gaps and Subtext
"Oh, my God! That woman is such a--!"
You finished that sentence, didn't you?!
Using clips and short films, we learn the basic substance of story and how to use it. The author encodes knowledge gaps into the narrative. The receiver decodes by providing the knowledge that goes into the gap from their own knowledge and experience (just like you just did above). The knowledge that goes into the gaps is called... Subtext. Critically, it comes from the receiver's own cultural knowledge and experience.
By completing the narratives and providing the subtext, the receiver becomes a co-producer on the story. Using clips, short films and interactive examples with the audience, the lights begin to shine on exactly how every beat, scene, sequence, chapter, subplot and entire story gets its power to make you love it, take ownership and feel gripped.
In the static image below, you can fill the gaps and give yourself a message about life that this image represents.
Common Story Dynamics
Every story has three primary roles: The author's role, the characters' role and the role of the receiver.
Using entertaining examples, we look at the knowledge gap characteristics of common story mechanisms, such as Conflict, Morality, The Major Dramatic Arc, Comedy, Aristotle's Principles and much more - all become clear and usable through clips and interactive exercises.
Characters are, of course, central to everything in story. You HAVE to understand character to understand what the narrative is doing to your receiver's mind. This session focusses on character motivation, protagonism, antagonism (with a strong focus on The Dark Side), morality, meaningful conflict, character growth, inner and outer arcs and more...
We then sit down a couple of famous characters, shine a light in their eyes and ask them the six questions you should ask of each of your characters.
We also find out how it is that plot and character... follow me carefully now... are one and the same thing... Once you understand that, your writing takes on a whole new dimension.
The Ultimate Power: STORIFICATION
The author frames and orientates the audience, the characters take their actions in real-time in the story world, the receiver interprets a narrative, fills the gaps with subtext and then the magic happens... they create meaning for themselves in their own mind. This is called storification.
Storification is the secret. The golden ticket. It sounds complicated, but by using simple animated stories, short films and clips from features, I demonstrate how it works.
We then use the principles of storification to make a story development process based on genuine knowledge of where the power in any particular story lies. We do it. We build a story there and then, in real time in the seminar. (I LOVE this bit! And you will love it too!)
The Salesman's Hat
Creatives are notoriously bad at selling themselves and their products. In this session, we will use our superpower - storytelling - and our knowledge of where the power of story lies, to create powerful pitches, treatments, decks, bibles and develop the marketing capability we need to effectively package and sell ourselves and our products.
The time has come. You. Are turning pro.